MY BIG FINISH JOURNEY PART 6: THE DESTINATION WARS
As the first doctor adventures volume one was on sale, I decided I would purchase it as I have long been a fan of the first ever Tardis team. Especially Ian Chesterton. The first adventure was the Destination Wars written by Matt Fitton. I have listened to six big finish audios and this one is up there with the best. I thought the story was very good, the performances were great, and the overall quality of the sound, editing and pacing made this four-part adventure entertaining and makes me want to listen to the next instalment straight away.
The story itself was all about a futuristic planet based on earth. It was home to creatures called the Dalmari. However, after one of the first incarnations of the master crash landed there after escaping gallifrey. He then helped a group of future humans take over the planet and push the Dalmari back. This episode felt a lot like the Silurian two parter in series five where the humans had inhabited the planet, but the locals wanted there planet back. However, in this case the master was helping both sides in order for them to learn, evolve and eventually discover how to time travel. The master was able to stay in the remains of his Tardis which he turned into a lab. However, time was different in his lab so for him it would be five minutes and for the rest of the people on the planet it would be a twelve years, although I can’t quite remember how this was explained. The master would come back and help the humans win wars against the Dalmari and he would be crowned a hero. He installed robots to keep everyone in place whilst he was gone, of course he was never really gone just speeding up time to his advantage so that eventually he can make a new Tardis and escape destination. I found his motives very interesting and it gave of Terror Of The Macra vibes. Obviously, the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara discover what’s happening and put an end to it. I loved how the master question Ian on how much he new about the doctor and whether he would actually take him home as well as trying to trick him into thinking the doctor was a bad person. When the master managed to escape in the Tardis with Ian and Barbara I was genuinely confused about how the doctor and Susan would manage to get out of it as by this time it was the end of part three. To be totally honest I was expecting a cop-out ending. But in actual fact the Doctor put an end to the war on destination very nicely, and Ian and Barbara managed to get back control over the Tardis and stop the master. The only issue I had with the story was that the masters end seemed to be a bit anti-climactic. I was hoping for a final stand-off between the doctor and the master but instead the master was just locked inside of his lab and left there.
Onto the characters now. Seen as the Tardis team wasn’t being played by the original actors and instead being played by David Bradley, Claudia Grant, Jemma Powell and Jamie Glover I was very surprised by how well they played the Doctor, Susan, Barbara and Ian. David Bradley, who I’ve already seen in an adventure in space and time and twice upon a time probably gave the best performance and I’m still staggered by just how similar he is to William Hartnell. Usually I am against major doctor who actors being replaced by other actors impersonating them but in this case I think David Bradley does William Hartnell justice as I feel the first doctor is often over-looked and usually ends up towards the bottom of peoples doctor ranking. Susan and Barbara were also played very well. I have never been the biggest fan of Susan. Maybe it’s because I am used to the modern formula for a companion rather than someone from the doctor’s family, but I have always found it a weird choice to have his granddaughter in the show. Barbara in my opinion is pretty irrelevant in most of the stories she’s in, as Susan is usually the one asking questions and Ian ends up getting into trouble and is almost like the action hero. In this story Barbara wasn’t really much different. She was likeable enough, but just didn’t do much. Ian is one of my favourite companions. So, it was very easy to tell it was a different actor playing him. However, I did enjoy in this story just as much as any other story despite it being clear a different actor was playing him. This was the first time I came across this version of the master, and I was very impressed. James Dreyfus played the part very well and gave a sinister performance. He felt like the master after ten minutes of listening. I would love him to make an on-screen appearance at some point. Whilst there are some masters (missy and Sacha Dhawan) in my opinion don’t feel like the master for various reasons, I genuinely believed James Dreyfus was the first incarnation of the master which is so important as the master is one of the biggest villains in doctor who. The Dalmari were your average run of mill support monsters that I just thought were okay and fitted the plot, but I wouldn’t be that bothered if they never reappeared in doctor who again. Finally, the rest of the cast were just pretty bulk standard side cast and did their bit to make the story flow.
To conclude, The Destination Wars was a great first story to set up the first doctor big finish series which clearly has been a big success as there are now four volumes. David Bradley put in another brilliant performance as the first doctor and did justice to William Hartnell. The rest of the cast were also very good, and I especially liked James Dreyfus take on the master. The story itself was interesting and was paced well. The only thing that could have been better was that it did feel a bit anti-climatic for a doctor who story with the master in.
I would give this story an 8/10
Written by: JACOB MOORE
As I am new to big finish, my big finish journey will be all about me discovering all these brilliant stories and giving you guys reviews of them. Comment which big finish audios you want to see in the future!